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Competition lapdog a cert to approve newspaper monopoly

Written By: - Date published: 7:43 am, May 14th, 2016 - 43 comments
Categories: capitalism, Media - Tags: , , , , , ,

The Dirty Digger

The Dirty Digger

The Commerce Commission has repeatedly proved it is more lapdog than competition watchdog, and you can safely bet it will stay true to form to approve the proposed merger of Fairfax Media NZ and NZME, leaving us essentially with one owner of all newspapers in this country.

NZME owner, APN News & Media, in which Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp recently acquired a 15% stake, and Fairfax Media announced this week they are in exclusive discussions to merge their New Zealand assets by the end of this year. NZME assets include The New Zealand Herald, a swathe of regional papers plus extensive radio networks, including ZB,.

APN confirmed it will first spin off NZME as a separate listed company, giving APN shareholders one share per existing share in the demerged business, while also raising A$182 million of new capital. News Corp, APN’s largest shareholder, said it will participate in the capital raising.

Every major newspaper in this country, barring the independent Otago Daily Times and the Gisborne Herald, is owned by NZME and Fairfax. As well, they own Stuff.co.nz and NZHerald.co.nz, two of the country’s most widely used news websites.

“My view is that the Commerce Commission will approve it,” veteran analyst, media commentator and Managing Director of Milford Asset Management, Brian Gaynor, told The Standard.

“Everyone says it will concentrate the newspaper market, but that’s not the issue these days. Newspapers are being hammered by digital, and I would argue it will make the market more competitive because it will allow newspapers to survive a little bit longer than they would otherwise.”

The commission has a inglorious history of approving duopolies and monopolies, just last month rubber stamping the takeover of Caltex by Z Energy, where despite Z increasing its market share to over half, the commission ruled the takeover would not substantially reduce competition.

Gaynor said that decision surprised him.

In 2001, the commission allowed the grocery market to be cut from three players to two when Progressive was allowed to by Woolworths NZ from Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm Group.

Progressive was later bought by Woolworths Australia (Woolworths NZ was a separate, independent entity at the time, albeit with the same brand) with the commission declaring NZ was an open market where any potential new player could set up.

When The Warehouse Group declared an interest to enter the grocery market in 2006, both Woolworths Australia and Foodstuffs each snaffled up a 10 percent stake in the discounter and stymied its entry. After much procrastination, the commission did block takeover bids by both companies but by then neither needed to as they had killed off The Warehouse’s grocery aspirations.

In 2000, after initially declining the takeover of Turoa Skifield by Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, on the ground that it meant effectively only one skifield operator in the North Island (the South Island skifields were deemed a different market), the commission backed down and applied the ‘public interest” rule – that benefits outweighed detriments despite a substantial lessening of competition. That is the rule likely to be used to approve the newspapers proposed merger.

Benefits promised, such as skiers being able to ski between the two fields never eventuated and were never followed up by the commission and today ski lift prices are outrageously high.

Gaynor said that initially he thought there was no way the commission will approve the newspaper merger, but when he did the numbers on the advertising market, he said newspapers only have a small share of a very fragmented market.

“This won’t lessen competition because newspapers don’t dominate the media market – in fact they are tiny part of it these days. It may allow them to survive.”

“The newspaper market is buggered anyway. I wouldn’t expect we will have any daily newspapers in ten year’s time.”

Gaynor accepted a merger would result in even fewer journalists being employed, when for example the separate Fairfax and NZME press gallery teams are shrunk to one.

“It will definitely reduce traditional print journalism, but it does open the opportunity for digital journalism, which should be able to jump into the space.”

“I think it will actually keep more jobs in journalism. If you don’t have the merger, you will see the demise of the daily newspaper a lot quicker. This allows the company, if it is allowed to proceed, to stand for longer. It creates more jobs over the next 10-15 years – I’m not sure in the longer run.”

He said New Zealand’s small population meant it would be more difficult for an operator such as The Guardian, which has set up in Australia, from publishing here.

“I’m an optimist. I think someone will find a space somewhere digitally to create an outlet that will deliver some rational, unbiased content.”

He noted the costs of setting up a digital news operation were much less than setting up a newspaper.

Given the hollowing out of newsrooms and, driven by their website, newspapers’ focus on titillation and celebrities, it is a moot point whether contracting from a duopoly to a monopoly will matter.

Papers have always been a mixed blessing. Nearly always they have been controlled by bastard barons, whose purpose owning them was to promulgate views in favour of money and to influence politics so politicians who support such views are elected.

The beauty of newspapers of old for the barons, was that not only did they achieve those goals, but their classified were “Rivers of Gold”, as the Fairfax papers were dubbed, making piles of profits for their owners via classified. Those classifieds have gone now to digital sites such as Trademe.

The Dirty Digger, Rupert Murdoch, not only owns such scurrilous rags as The Sun, one of the world’s biggest circulation papers, and the disgraced and now defunct News of the World, but also worthwhile mastheads such as The Sunday Times, The Times, The Australian and The Wall Street Journal, my last employer in the industry.

The one almost saving grace about the Dirty Digger, as the name suggests, is that he loved digging dirt, and news generally. He knows news sells papers. That’s why he supported President Barack Obama for President, not because he liked his politics, but because his election would result in more news stories. He will certainly support Donald Trump.

Murdoch is infamous for coming unannounced into newsrooms to micromanage the day’s edition, telling editors which story they should lead with and where a pic should be placed on the page.

Despite all the loathsome things about newspapers, because of the bias of their owners and their unwarranted intrusion into people’s lives, I also love them and am addicted to them.

The sheer diversity of information you glean even from today’s pale parody of newspapers in their prime, is an everyday wonder. And even The Sun still gets some great scoops such as exposing Rusian athletes dope cheating.

Journalists tend to be curious people who try to get to the bottom of things, with most having a leaning towards society’s little guys, and therefore have a natural and understandable inclination to the Left, rather than the views of the papers’ owners. (I always found it difficult to comprehend how any self-respecting journalist could support the guys on top of the pile).

Whatever people say about the digital age of information, it is hard to see websites filling the void left by newspapers.

It is really only fully employed journalists who have the wherewithal, resources and inclination to delve into the deeply buried ills and wrong-doings of society. Bloggers would never have exposed the Watergate affair – it takes a powerful paper with huge, committed resources and a deterimined editor to carry such stories off. As was shown in the recent award film Spotlight about The Boston Globe exposing the systematic cover-up of priests buggering boys in Boston by the Catholic Church, it take huge commitment and will by a paper to pull off such a difficult story.

The full extent of the current big story, the Panama Papers, with over 11.5 documents to cover, is not going to be properly exposed by amateurs.

TV in this country has fed off newspapers. Evening bulletins invariably are populated by stories broken by newspapers.

Almost uniquely in the Western World, New Zealand effectively has no public broadcaster because TVNZ has been mandated by the government to make profits as its first imperative. That means it must chase ratings so the will and the resources to break stories have been greatly diminished.

Radio NZ does a good job with the few resources it has been given, but it has been starved of money under this government, with no increase in funding for nine years – equivalent to an 11.5% real cut.

So as journalists and resources are cut more and more from our three traditional sources of news gathering, politicians and villains will increasingly get away with more and people will be less informed. It may be a case of God Defend New Zealand because the journalists left won’t be able to.

(Simon Louisson formerly worked for The Wall Street Journal, NZPA, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post and was most recently a political and media adviser to the Green Party)

43 comments on “Competition lapdog a cert to approve newspaper monopoly”

  1. Ad 1

    “Whatever people say about the digital age of information, it is hard to see websites filling the void left by newspapers.”

    Have the occasional moments of nobility really been worth it?

    For the once-a-couple-of-years breakthrough exposing something bad, newspapers are 70% advertising, 20% recycling of media releases, and 9% weather and sport. They are banal, demeaning, and almost always on the side of the oppressors.

    Young people are paying less and less attention to the news. That’s not necessarily their fault. Perhaps they are right. Perhaps they are choosing to distract their minds from the oppressions of the world, and instead engaging in a truth that they alone control and engage in.

    Undoubtedly, the reason the left decry the decline of newspapers is because it signals a new decline in the singular “town hall”, in which there really is a public sphere, in which politics and policy still matter.

    No one who has found themselves on the pen-end of a reporter or editor will weep. Righteous truth is usually their code for license to humiliate and debase at will. Reporters can remain “free” all they like.

    This proposed merger is mere lifeboat commerce, finally hitting these shores when it’s long since hit every other. Good riddance. If politics is to reassert itself as important to generations who have long switched off the news, it will need to figure out ways to do so without the NZHerald. Goodbye to them, and good riddance.

    • Bill 1.1

      Baby and bath water Ad. I’ve no problem with individual newspaper titles disappearing. But journalism? Granted, the media industry has been kind of garroting journalism for some years and serving up pap. An army of Nicky Hager types might be nice ,but you know…

      Public subsidies for newsprint might work. It worked in the past for the US where, before the age of advertising, there was a plethora of newspapers that weren’t bound by commercial imperatives. The result was a screed of openly bias and informative news sources.

      • Ad 1.1.1

        Nicky Hagar is a rare person, who only needs us to buy his books to get his investigations out.
        He doesn’t need Mr Murdoch.

        • Ralf Crown 1.1.1.1

          The problem is that people like Murdoch and Key are good at finding ways to silence him, they can make good use of fores as police and courts, threaten him, harass him and smear him. His family is also a target to warn others not to follow his example. Most investigating journalists have now bee silenced in New Zealand.

          • Ad 1.1.1.1.1

            That’s a question of funding, principally, not a question of M&A.

            The series Newsroom and The Wire were good pointers on where old news gathering is going.

    • greywarshark 1.2

      Ad and she’ll be right, go with the flow, you can’t fight it so roll over and get your tummy tickled. Your theme BAU.

      • Ad 1.2.1

        You sound like an old person.
        ‘Mock The Week’ does a better job of the truth than NZHerald’s Mr Armstrong ever did.

    • Ralf Crown 1.3

      I think you are wrong, but the real problem with the fast forming media cartels is that they select, and in detail steer, the content towards what the owner want the public to know. The cartel, not only the media but also the other commercial operation they support, filter the news so people are indoctrinated in their opinion. The balance is the digital media as thestqandard.org. What we must see is that also the digital media form cartels as a counterweight to the cartel in the paper media. Another factor is how the defamation rules and other laws effect publishing. We can see this in the treatment of Nicky Hagar or Vince Siemer. The establishment is trying to use the full force of the justice system to silence any competition, not only buying it up. The solution is one – that all web media support each other, each web paper always carry links to all other web paper. The other solution is the emergence of web media located overseas and run by expat kiwis resident in other countries, which the New Zealand courts justice system can not raid and suppress. Another angle is using anonymising software as TOR and Tails to publish. The paper cartels will never find out who the people behind the publication are and can not shut down the operation or threaten the people behind it. Such an operation can also ignore all New Zealand court decisions to silence them. One example is the new web paper The Kiwi Herald on wordpress. It is apparently published in the US by US residents, and cannot be attacked by the New Zealand establishment and silenced. Unite, or die.

      • Ad 1.3.1

        That idea of all web news outlets linking to each other has been going on for a while, except that engines do it for you. A really good example is the aggregator Reddit, where you can tool it very highly to your own interests. Plus go toe to toe with experts in the dialogue sections.

  2. AmaKiwi 2

    Simon, thank you for an excellent post and summation of the industry.

  3. Lanthanide 3

    ““My view is that the Commerce Commission will approve it,” veteran analyst, media commentator and Managing Director of Milford Asset Management told The Standard.”

    Still incorrectly stating that interviewees are talking to a computer server.

    The link between tax havens, criminals and the amoral rich

    • Bill 3.1

      Do you have a workable alternative that isn’t clunky or silly sounding? The first time I saw it I thought ‘hang on’…for the same reasons as you But then, he’s using reporting conventions that other authors don’t have to use because we ain’t doing reporting…at least not interview based reporting. Me or I (in the place of ‘ts’) possibly just doesn’t work.

      • Et Tu Brute 3.1.1

        The writer is writing an article which will appear exclusively on The Standard therefore it seems conventional to say “When asked by The Standard…”. A volunteer could write for a community newsletter and say “When asked by this newsletter…”. It could also be read as a short form of “When asked [on behalf of ] The Standard.” It doesn’t reflect ownership. Naturally ‘The Standard’, ‘The NZ Herald’, ‘Radio NZ’ etc… are not persons which can ask, have opinions or say anything.

      • Ralf Crown 3.1.2

        A workable alternative is that webmedia form a counterweight cartel and always link to each other, to support expat kiwi publishing which can not be silenced, and to use anonymous publishing with TOR and Tails. Esse non videri, to act without being seen. The “enemy” you cannot see – you cannot attack and kill. Long live the webmedia cartel.

    • Simon Louisson 3.2

      Build a bridge and get over it

      • Lanthanide 3.2.1

        I just think there should be one rule for everyone.

        It seems very hypocritical that moderators would punish commenter’s for referring to something published by ‘The Standard’ as if it were a human, and yet author(s) get to use that same phrase as they see fit.

        • fender 3.2.1.1

          Unless you still have a bee in your bonnet over an historical ban I can’t see why you keep banging on about this.

          It’s like you’re trying to tell an author what to write 😉

          • Lanthanide 3.2.1.1.1

            1. I’ve never been banned from the Standard
            2. In the comment I linked to, Lynn pretty much said it was up to commenters to point out the rules for use of the term “The Standard”, hence I’m doing my job
            3. I’m not telling the author what to write (ie, what subject to write about). I’m pointing out that their usage of the term “The Standard” goes against established protocol on this site. The author is completely free to ignore my comment – as in fact they so far have been doing.

  4. roy 4

    Stuff behind a paywall. What rubbish. It’s hard enough to go there as it is.

  5. tc 5

    ‘TV in this country has fed off newspapers’ because it’s lacked any journalist resourcing at the required levels to generate its own for a long time in this country now.

    Public broadcasting is a necessity unless we want to end up being rolled into the oz outposts of global messaging empires.

    Thanks Simon, excellent as always.

  6. Bill 6

    There’s a presentation on-line given by a US scientist on global warming. At some point he pulled out the figures for denialists in the US and pointed out that the surge in their numbers dovetailed with the denialist, idiot Murdoch, gobbling up US media outlets.

    Now sure, sometimes things just happen.

    On a separate point. Although I rarely scan an actual newspaper these days, I’m well aware that on-line perusing is much more blinkered. In a very real sense, nothing ‘catches the eye’. ‘Most Read’, ‘Most Popular’ sidebars don’t really play that role. And further links to articles associated with the one being read serve a different purpose again.

    Not unconnected with that point is an ‘old school meets new school’ idea I had the other week – to have a jotter handy when on-line due to often having multiple tabs open, possibly read something, then a couple of days later realise it’s lost forever.

    Unlike the case of newspapers, magazines or books, I lack the ‘landmarks’ necessary to find my way back to a place I’ve only been to the once. (‘History’ links require remembering what the link refers to and so, for me, are fairly hopeless).

    Now I’m going to be told that people have been doing that for years (paper prompts for electronic navigation) and what the hell have I been thinking for all of this time? 😉

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      Hold the ctrl key down and press ‘d’ to bookmark something, although I’m not quite sure that’s what you meant.

      Then figure out how to organise your bookmarks 🙂

      • Bill 6.1.1

        🙂 I knows how to bookmark. But then I look at a list of links that mean nothing because there isn’t really any indication of what sits behind the bookmarked url. And the bookmark might be to the homepage of the site rather than the actual page. And what site was it again? And was it under category A or category B. Or did I drop it into… And I’ve no memory prompts along the way.

        Compared with.

        Know how when you flick through a magazine or do any kind of paper based search, and you can find something by association? Like, you know that what you’re looking for is somewhere just before that picture you’ve flicked past…or you remember making that doodle just before moving the thing you really want to find to…? Found it! And also, unlike web sites, you know pretty quickly…within a few secs…. whether you’re in the right magazine or not…or in the right pile of papers…and god help any ‘helpful’ soul who might tidy or catalogue what’s already a perfectly functioning system.

        The web and computers are like an imposed alzheimer type thing to me.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1.1

          You can edit the title for each bookmark.

          So if you wanted you could use some sort of catalogue/numbering system to organise them by subject, or whatever. This also applies to ctrl+s – the ‘save as’ option.

          Hence the ‘politics’ folder on my hard drive 🙂

          • weka 6.1.1.1.1

            I’m using Firefox and its bookmarking system is pretty antiquated (I should look for a specific application I suppose). I do use the ‘ctrl +bookmark all tabs’ option from the contextual menu quite a lot, which prompts loading them in a folder that I have to name. I can then search manually or by keyword and keywords are for both the file name and the URL (and description I assume but I don’t use that). It works, and Bill it does use similar kinds of brain stuff in terms of cues to remember what I am looking for, but I do sometimes have to open a lot of links to find what I want. You’d think by now someone would have designed a better system (yes, that’s a prompt for someone to point me to the right app).

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    Whatever people say about the digital age of information, it is hard to see websites filling the void left by newspapers.

    It is really only fully employed journalists who have the wherewithal, resources and inclination to delve into the deeply buried ills and wrong-doings of society.

    I’ve considered that it would be like thus:

    The government would set up the servers that the journalists publish upon, provide all the financial and legal support that the journalists need to operate but not have any say in what the journalists report on.

    Although there would be editors to catch spelling mistake/grammar and make suggestions on sentence structure they too would not have a say in what the journalists, either working independently or in a group, report on.

    This should give us an entirely independent news.

    The problem comes in the form of the government cutting funding but a UBI might even be able to deal with that.

    • Ralf Crown 7.1

      The real problem is that the government does not want that to happen. They want a media they can control, there is an invisible alliance between the paper cartel and polarities. The government would love to be able to shut down every independent media in the world, just look how they skillfully eliminated almost every independent investigating journalist already. Funding is not needed, or wanted, because funding means control. Who pays the piper…… Digital webmedia is the solution, all web media need to join hands and link to each other.

  8. Once was Tim 8

    I live in hope that when we eventually get a decent gubbamint again, it’ll have an interest in restoring our democracy and sovereign rights by whatever means necessary, and free us all from corporate hegemony. Be that through anti-trust measures (a la AT&T), giving the Commerce Commission some strict guidlines, decent constitutional legislation, restoration of a public sphere and 4th Estate (not just news and current affairs, but arts and culture too), proper funding of the Ombudsman’s Office, etc., etc
    Despite the waffle, this government isn’t actually that interested in small business either (unless they’re mates) – a bit like Turnbull’s latest policies/budget. Some are slowly beginning to wake up to that ……. slowly
    Strangely enough, so far the only person I can see that places any sort of priority on it all is Winnie.

  9. Richardrawshark 9

    Fk em,, sooner Newspapers die the better, it’s like watching a cancer patient die.

    As for paywall they won’t survive that.

    It’s the digital age they either adapt or die, There is a good gap for an independent well managed site in NZ giving news and current events articles, the better the web site the more visits the more advertising. Either News papers sharpen up to their web presence or die off and smart web programs and digital information changes.

    As for the reporters in this country from our daily media sources, the sooner their influence goes the better.

    • Ad 9.1

      Or at least, once paywalls are common here, that there is an elite class of information-rich individuals with the means and patience to get through the paywalls every day, and everyone else can just figure out who gets the rose this week.

      i.e. like now, but a bit moreso.

    • joe90 9.2

      Fk em,, sooner Newspapers die the better, it’s like watching a cancer patient die.

      The Bachelor, footy scores and press releases, I can hardly fucking wait.
      //

      According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, here is how the total American job numbers looked 15 years ago, and today:

      2000: 65,900 news reporters, and 128,600 public relations people

      2015: 45,800 news reporters, and 218,000 public relations people

      So 15 years ago, there were two PR people for every reporter in the country. Now there are 4.8 PR people for every reporter.

      https://muckrack.com/daily/2016/04/14/america-now-has-nearly-5-pr-people-for-every-reporter-double-the-rate-from-a-decade-ago/

      • Macro 9.2.1

        This from The erstwhile Frank Macskasy makes an interesting comparison.

        Budget data showing increases to the Prime Minister’s Department makes for sobering reading.

        Michael Cullen’s last budget, 2008/09, allocated $25,470,000 to Vote Prime Minister and Cabinet.
        In the same 2008/2009 Budget, Radio NZ was allocated $31,718,000 through NZ on Air, an increase of $2,644,000 (approx 8%) from the previous year.
        In National’s first Budget, 2009/10, Vote Prime Minister and Cabinet was allocated $33,021,000 – an increase of $7,551,000 – or just under 25%!
        In the same 2009/2010 Budget, Radio NZ’s allocation went up by $98,000 to $31,816,000 – not even a 1% increase.

        For the first time, the Prime Minister’s Departmental budget exceeded that of Radio NZ. Furthermore;

        Since 2009/10, Radio NZ’s allocation has stayed the same; $31,816,000.
        By contrast, the amounts allocated to the Prime Minister’s Department has increased, and in the 2015/16 Budget was allocated $49,298,000 – an increase of $24,476,000 since 2008 and a near-doubling of John Key’s department and Cabinet expenditure since Michael Cullen’s last budget, seven years ago.
        In the 2015/16 Budget, Radio NZ was allocated $31,816,000 – a nil increase.

        Framed another way, a news media organisation – dedicated to informing the public about government activities – has had no increase in resourcing since John Key’s administration came to power in late 2008.

        By contrast, the Prime Minister’s Department – dedicated to promoting the power of the Government and more specifically, pursuing National’s political agenda – has had a doubling of taxpayer funding.

        My Bold.
        And we wonder why that man-child remains as PM?

      • Robertina 9.2.2

        NZ public relations versus print journo numbers:

        https://figure.nz/chart/a1QVwmkdtuOdPyTo

        https://figure.nz/chart/3SsArOPL7rncDToA

    • Robertina 9.3

      Wow, that’s a sophisticated take you’ve got there Richard: ‘let em die!
      As analysis it’s right up there with what you said in January about a female journalist:

      ”Hope next time said sports personality meets her she finds out how her big mouth has consequences. Yeah I mean she gets a right old smack to the head.”

      BTW there’s no sharper or more adaptable web presence than the Guardian and it is bleeding along with all the other media outlets.

      • Richardrawshark 9.3.1

        Didn’t know I was analysing anything, more like making a tongue in cheek remark with a tinge of how a feel about the state of things.
        Excuse me if I bleed or get emotional about blatant disrespect like certain said female journalist attacking someone using the paper to make her personal feeling known. Said person ridiculed like that. I got emotional, i’m no MP, i’m just a person, with feelings sometimes triggered with outrage at crap like Frans.

        If you think that makes me someone to stalk like you just did, go for your life. My take is if you don’t want criticism Robertina don’t slag people of in the National newspaper using a pretence of elder journalist with respect to get away with it.

        and what I said was wrong, I din’t need you to hunt my herald alias down, find one of my posts and tie it to my standard non de plume…shady.

        • Robertina 9.3.1.1

          You’ve lost me . . . what’s your herald alias and how am I tying it to your non de plume? You made the comment here on The Standard.

          Having thought about it, it’s not your fault that those kind of comments are tolerated at The Standard, and I am sorry I raised it as it really is pointless.
          I notice those kind of comments, and have also been cursed with a good memory.

          While newspapers are not and never will be perfect, the public life they help foster lifts us a little bit higher than the kind of careless and frequently misogynist internet commentary that this glorious freewheeling digital revolution has engendered, so I suppose that was the somewhat tenuous justification for highlighting your previous comment, but as I say I regret doing so.

  10. Robertina 10

    A few points:

    – It might be worthwhile for someone who writes for The Standard to interview Paul Tolich, E Tu’s national media organiser, whose PR yesterday said:
    ”……plummeting revenues for news media of news aggregators such as Google and Facebook.
    “They are getting free content. This can’t continue because no-one gets free content. You can’t have a situation where people are free-loading.”

    Some intellectual engagement with what is, as Tolich points out, an idea whose time has come (taking on big boys of FB and Google) would be nice. Otherwise we’re only hearing the view of a widget-minded investment analyst.

    – Journalism still has high union membership. Maybe it’s wishful thinking but if a merger goes ahead I don’t think the journo job losses will be that high (there are lots of other jobs affected too though). E Tu has a tough job ahead.

    – If there’s one thing the Fairfax experiment shows, it’s that mastheads (individual titles like Southland Times, Sunday Star Times) do still matter.
    NZME. is the dominant player in the potential merger and retains the kinds of news execs who played no part in the Fairfax experiment. It will be interesting to see if they try to rebuild the mastheads, and the role of a paywall in that.

    – People forget reader numbers are growing bigger than ever, even while revenues plummet, and these businesses are still profitable (Fairfax – $70m profit last year).

    -Implying the Guardian is some kind of panacea (if only they could set up in NZ etc) is wrong. Has Gaynor checked out the recent publicity about the Guardian’s financial woes?

    – Gaynor says this creates opportunities for digital journalism but there are ample editorial opportunities in digital now, but few can make digital journalism pay because (as Gaynor has pointed out) aggregators have attracted the advertising revenue.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1605/S00176/meetings-for-e-t-media-members-over-planned-media-merger.htm
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/05/13/guardian-exiles-former-editor-rusbridger-over-financial-problems/

  11. Stuart Munro 11

    This is the inevitable result of the anti-competitive practices of monlithic news providers: they have destroyed their market. TV news is doing the same – neither 3 nor One are worth a moment of my time.

    Monopolistic corporations do not innovate, they are not entrepreneurial, and they hate quality and public service passionately.

    It is a transition period for media – great threat but also great opportunity. Friend of mine did her PhD on quality in journalism – the paper she worked with grew its circulation by 70%. Murdoch isn’t beating a path to her door though. She’s gone off the grid – self-sufficient organic gardening.

    Corporations do not like expertise – it interferes with the power games and career paths of the psychopaths. They’d rather lose their shirts.

  12. Rae 12

    While we don’t need a slew of journalists to cover the “man bites dog” stories, we definitely need investigative journalism, the sort of stuff that got Teina Pora out of prison, and we need political analysis and commentary. The first is probably the least important of them.

    • Richardrawshark 12.1

      That’s right Rae, we need the forth estate to be honest, they seem to have lost their place in the media world and turned into all things for all people.

      It’s such a important part of democracy that the monopoly that is being created is rather more IMHO important an issue than many take it as.

      I cannot help their business model but if it’s not working they need to change or fade with time like other failed businesses.

      Their certainly is a void in the current market for an outlet that calls it as it should be. Criticizes when they should and approves just the same.
      _ Robertina, did io say that here? oh, 🙂 I said it on the Herald as well, Fran upset me that day, I remember reading a tirade from her in the Herald. Must have pressed my button IDNK.

      was bad form by me tho, to tell the truth we had a struggle for a long time getting my bi-polar meds right I only just found one that worked, i’m a little more laid back and less depressed now.

  13. linda 13

    i don’t even think TV broadcasting let alone news papers have a future lets face it we get all news we want via Google all programing we want bbc rt you name it tvnz is next after the papers you just don’t need all that broadcasting infrastructure
    they will go the same way as dvd rental shops gone.
    at its core media is a distribution business. they were the gate keepers of information that monopoly and controlled access to the viewer has well and truly been blown away

  14. So, a perfect time to mention that Scoop has just kicked off the 2016 fundraising / membership drive

    Locally owned independent news has never been more important and Scoop’s publishing model and in-house journalism ensures that local organisations and a broad range of views areavailable. In addition Scoop has that and positively no stories about the B******r.

    I’ve recently taken on a trustee role with the Scoop Foundation for Public Interest Journalism and am happy to answer any questions about the Foundation or this fundraising / membership building round. There is a summary of some recent news in the links to the PledgeMe site above.

Recent Comments

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  • Prime Minister statement Whakaari White Island recovery operation
    I want to start by acknowledging the families who have experienced such grief and such loss since the extraordinary tragedy on Monday. Today was all about reuniting them with their loved ones. We've just come from the airport where many of them were gathered and in amongst what you can ...
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    2 days ago
  • New Zealand medical specialists to provide further support to Samoa
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today announced further support for Samoa’s longer term needs as it continues to respond to a devastating measles epidemic. “Samoa’s health system has experienced massive strain in the wake of the measles epidemic. The volume of patients needing care during this outbreak, and the number of ...
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    2 days ago
  • Discounted electric-bikes offered to public sector workers
    Discounted electric bikes will be offered up to public sector staff across the country as part of the Government’s work to reduce transport emissions and support healthier transport options.  Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter officially launched the new initiative at Wellington Hospital today.  “The Government has negotiated bulk-purchase ...
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    2 days ago
  • Australia and New Zealand confirm joint bid for FIFA Women’s World Cup
    The Australian and New Zealand Governments today launch an historic joint bid to bring the FIFA Women’s World Cup to the Southern Hemisphere for the first time. Australian Minister for Youth and Sport, Richard Colbeck and New Zealand Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson will announce the bold campaign, ...
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    2 days ago
  • Blackwater gold mine gets PGF boost
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) has approved a $15 million loan to help re-establish a gold mining operation at Blackwater Gold Mine, near Reefton, Rural Communities Minister and local MP Damien O’Connor announced at an event on the West Coast today. “This is great news for the Coast that could ...
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    2 days ago
  • Papakāinga model inspires whānau well-being
    Papakāinga model inspires whānau well-being A housing project by Kohupātiki whānau in Hastings is an outstanding example of a Māori-led housing initiative that can reduce financial pressure and reconnect whānau to their whakapapa says the Minister for Māori Development Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  Minister Mahuta officially opened the Aroha Te Rangi ...
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    2 days ago
  • Government provides more funding for major community wetland restoration project
    Restoration efforts for a significant wetland in the Hawke’s Bay are getting more support announced Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage. “Wetlands are vital to healthy landscapes and ecosystems. They function as nature’s ‘kidneys’, filtering and protecting water quality, acting as nature’s sponges after rain and are home to ...
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    2 days ago
  • Housing First to help Nelson Tasman homeless
    Nelson has today seen the launch of Housing First Nelson Tasman. Today’s launch marks the expansion of the Government’s homelessness programme, Housing First, to the top of the South Island. “Housing First is a proven programme that puts people who are experiencing homelessness and multiple, high and complex needs into ...
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    2 days ago
  • New funding to support Environment Centres working for sustainable local solutions
    New Government funding announced today will help communities make a difference in tackling environmental issues Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage announced in Hawkes Bay today. The Ministry for the Environment’s Community Environment Fund is dedicating $243,101 to growing the capacity and capability of the Environment Hubs Aotearoa’s (EHA) ...
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    2 days ago
  • Government takes bite out of loan sharks
    The days of vulnerable consumers falling victim to loan sharks, truck shops and other predatory lenders are numbered, following the Credit Contracts Legislation Amendment Bill passing its third reading tonight. “Too many Kiwis are being given loans that are unaffordable and unsuitable, trapping them in debt and leaving their families ...
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    3 days ago
  • New Zealand safer as Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders Bill) becomes law
    A Bill that prevents terrorism and supports the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas has passed its third reading, Justice Minister Andrew Little says. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill is a carefully targeted response to manage the risk posed by a small number of New Zealanders who have ...
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    3 days ago
  • Foreign Minister and Pacific Peoples Minister to visit Samoa
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio will travel to Samoa on Friday, where New Zealand medical teams are helping Samoa respond to an outbreak of measles. “New Zealand has been working closely with the Government of Samoa and offering our assistance from the ...
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    3 days ago
  • New Pastoral Care Code will support tertiary students in 2020
    The Government has changed the law to improve student safety and welfare in university halls of residence and other student accommodation. The Education (Pastoral Care) Amendment Bill passed its third reading this afternoon and details of an interim Code of Practice setting out the Government’s expectations of tertiary providers have also been released. ...
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    3 days ago
  • New infrastructure funding tool to build housing developments faster
    A new tool to help councils fund and finance infrastructure could mean some housing developments happen a decade earlier than currently planned, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said today. “This new tool, developed by the Government in partnership with industry and high-growth councils, will allow councils to access private debt ...
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    3 days ago
  • Vision to unite the primary sector launched today
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has welcomed the release of a bold new vision for the country’s vital food and fibre sector. “I’m delighted that New Zealand’s major farmer and grower organisations are today supporting the Primary Sector Council’s vision – Fit for a Better World,” he said. “The international consumers ...
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    3 days ago
  • NZ congratulates PNG and Autonomous Bougainville Government on referendum
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has congratulated the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Bougainville Government for completing a well-conducted referendum on the future political status of Bougainville. “New Zealand supported the referendum process by providing technical advice through the New Zealand Electoral Commission and leading a Regional Police ...
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    3 days ago
  • Next steps for Upper North Island logistics
    In light of Cabinet’s position that freight operations on prime land in downtown Auckland are no longer viable, the Government will now embark on a short work programme to enable decision-making in the first half of next year, Associate Transport Minister Shane Jones says. Minister Jones is today releasing the ...
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    3 days ago
  • Surgical mesh restorative justice report received
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter has received the report back from a surgical mesh restorative justice process undertaken by Victoria University. The process heard stories, either in person or online submission, from more than 600 people affected by surgical mesh. “The report made for heart-breaking and confronting reading,” says ...
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    3 days ago
  • The Water Services Regulator Bill – Taumata Arowai a milestone for drinking water safety
    The Water Services Regulator Bill – Taumata Arowai , introduced to Parliament today, is a milestone for drinking water safety in New Zealand and will help improve environmental outcomes for urban waterways, rivers and lakes.  “This is a breakthrough for New Zealanders in terms of providing safe drinking water throughout ...
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    3 days ago
  • Speech to new direction for criminal justice reform announcement
    Kia ora koutouE ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā matā wakaTēnā koutou katoaHaere ngā, moe maiKoutou ma ngā Rangatira Ko Anaru ahauKo au te Minita mo ngā TureHe Honore tino nui kei roto I ahau No reira tena koutou katoa Today, we are releasing two reports that are the ...
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    3 days ago
  • New direction for criminal justice reform
    The Government is looking to turn around the long-term challenges of criminal justice by taking a new approach to break the cycle of offending to ensure there are fewer victims of crime. Justice Minister Andrew Little released two reports today, Turuki! Turuki! from Te Uepū Hāpai I te Ora, and ...
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    3 days ago
  • New law sets up $300m Venture Capital Fund
    New Zealand firms expanding beyond the start-up phase are set for more support after today’s passage of the Venture Capital Fund Bill, Associate Finance Minister David Parker said. The Bill, which establishes a $300 million Venture Capital Fund, puts in place a key initiative of the Wellbeing Budget’s economic package. ...
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    4 days ago
  • New Zealand’s National Statement to COP25
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, e ngā rau rangatira mā. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Señora Presidenta, Excellencies, Delegates. International action A common thread that runs through the Paris Agreement is the commitment we have made to each other to do what we can to ...
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    4 days ago
  • $12 billion in extra infrastructure investment
    The Government is lifting capital investment to the highest level in more than 20 years as it takes the next step to future-proof New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced $12 billion of new investment, with $8 billion for specific capital projects and $4 billion to be added to ...
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    4 days ago
  • Strong economy, careful spending gives $12bn of surpluses
    The Government is forecast to run $12 billion worth of surpluses across the four years to 2023/24 as the economy continues to grow. The surpluses will help fund day-to-day capital requirements each year. These include fixing leaky hospitals, building new classrooms to cover population growth and take pressure off class ...
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    4 days ago
  • Priorities for 2020 Wellbeing Budget outlined
    Budget 2020 will continue the Coalition Government’s focus on tackling the long-term challenges facing New Zealand while also investing to future-proof the economy. When the Government took office in 2017 it was left with crumbling infrastructure, severe underinvestment in public services, degraded rivers and lakes, a housing crisis and rising ...
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    4 days ago
  • Minister welcomes data-rich coastline mapping tool
    The Minister responsible for the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 (te Takutai Moana Act 2011), Andrew Little has welcomed the launch of an online geospatial tool that provides data-rich, dynamic coastline maps that will significantly boost research and evidence-gathering under the Act. Te Kete Kōrero a Te ...
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    4 days ago
  • Chief Victims Advisor reappointed for a further two years
    The Chief Victims Advisor to Government Dr Kim McGregor, QSO, has been reappointed in her role for a further two years. Dr McGregor has held the role since it was established in November 2015. She provides independent advice to government on how to improve the criminal justice system for victims. ...
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    4 days ago
  • New Zealand tsunami monitoring and detection system to be established
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare have today announced the deployment of a network of DART (Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami) buoys. “New Zealand and the Pacific region are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. It is vital we have adequate warning systems in place,” ...
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    4 days ago
  • DART Buoys Announcement
    DART Buoys Announcement Aotea Wharf, 9.30am 11 December 2019   Acknowledgements Acknowledgements to Minister for Civil Defence Hon Peeni Henare also here today. White Island It is with regret that this event shadows the tragic natural disaster two days ago. The volcanic eruptions on White Island have claimed 5 lives, ...
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    4 days ago
  • Final steps for racing industry reform
    Racing Minister Winston Peters has welcomed the first reading of the Racing Industry Bill in parliament today. This is the second of two Bills that have been introduced this year to revitalise New Zealand’s racing industry. “Our domestic racing industry has been in serious decline.  The Government is committed to ...
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    5 days ago
  • Funding to promote New Zealand Sign Language initiatives
    Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni, is pleased to announce that $291,321 is to be awarded to national and local community initiatives to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). “New Zealand is one of the few countries  in the world where Sign Language is an ...
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    5 days ago
  • How New Zealand defines and recognises veterans
    Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has announced today the Coalition Government’s initial response to work completed by the independent statutory body, the Veterans’ Advisory Board. “When Professor Ron Paterson completed his review of the Veterans’ Support Act in 2018, he made a number of recommendations, including one which I referred ...
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    5 days ago